Tag Archives: Auto Insurance Claim

Buying A Used Car?

Tips on Identifying a Flood-Damaged Vehicle


If you are in the market for a used vehicle, you know that it is important to inspect the vehicle to make sure it is in working order. But did you know that it is equally important to make sure the vehicle hasn’t experienced any water damage?


Following Superstorm Sandy, which hit October 28, 2012, insurance companies processed more than 250,000 claims for damaged vehicles. Damage can range from scratches and minor dents to vehicles being crushed or flooded.

photo: NICB

photo: NICB

“Rising water can cause major damage to the vehicle,” said Bob Passmore, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America’s senior director of personal lines. “Water damage to a vehicle is typically covered under an auto policy’s comprehensive insurance coverage.”

Consumers and adjusters should be wary of vehicles that are exposed to flood waters. Unfortunately, there are many instances of flood damaged vehicles being resold to uninformed buyers. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), dishonest car dealers can purchase flooded cars, clean them up and sell them with hidden damage. They then can transport the damaged cars to states that were unaffected by the storm, and then sell them without disclosing the vehicles true history.

What to look for in a washed up vehicle

The NICB outlines specific things to be on the look out for:

• Inspect the vehicle for water stains, mildew, sand, or silt under the carpets, floor mats, headliner cloth and behind the dashboard.

• Check for recently shampooed carpet.

• Inspect the interior upholstery and door panels for fading.

• Check for rust on screws in the console or areas where water normally doesn’t reach.

• Check for mud or grit in the spare tire compartment, alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses, around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays.

• Check inside the seatbelt retractors by pulling the seatbelt all the way out and inspect for moisture, mildew or grime.

• Check door speakers as they will often be damaged due to flooding.

• Ask about the vehicle’s history. Ask whether it was in any accidents or floods.

• Inspect the title and ownership papers for any potential or questionable salvage fraud.

• Conduct a title search of the vehicle.

• Look under the hood for signs of oxidation. Pull back rubber boots around electrical and mechanical connections for these indicators: Ferrous materials will show signs of rust Copper will show a green patina.

• Aluminum and alloys will have a white powder and pitting.


Article adapted from http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/national/2013/10/01/237718.htm


Information You Should Get/Give After An Auto Accident

This article was taken from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website, http://www.insureuonline.org/auto_page.htm, highlighting a great new mobile app, called “WreckCheck,” that can help insured’s capture the appropriate information after an auto accident. This is very important information to know since providing too much information after an accident is a very easy way for your personal information to fall into the wrong hands.


Accidents Happen 
Take steps to protect yourself, your property and your identity

In an automobile accident, you are concerned first about your safety and secondly about your vehicle. Likely, the last thing on your mind is protecting your identity. In fact, a recent survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) suggests that, after an accident, many Americans do not really know what information they should share with the other driver. State laws vary, but in most cases you need only provide your name and vehicle insurance information, which should include the name and phone number of your insurance provider. Sharing personal information such as your address and phone number may put your privacy and identity at risk. However, if another driver is unable to provide vehicle ownership and/or insurance information it is appropriate to ask for their phone number, address and driver’s license number.

According to the July 2012 survey:

  • Thirty-eight percent of consumers believed they should share their driver’s license number with the other driver — one in six would even allow the other driver to photograph the license as a convenient way to exchange information.
      • So what’s the risk? Many retailers accept driver’s license information to verify your identity over the phone. In fact, your license number is the most common way to confirm your identity after Social Security number and date of birth.
  • Twenty-five percent of consumers surveyed said they would share their home address.
      • Actually, your home address gives identity thieves the physical location of your mail or garbage, the first place criminals often look for personal financial information. And, now a stranger knows where you live, possibly putting your personal safety at risk.
  • Twenty-nine percent of survey respondents believed they are required to share personal phone numbers. In fact, sharing your phone number is rarely necessary.

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission estimates nearly nine million consumers have their identities stolen each year, disrupting finances and damaging credit histories and reputation. Knowing what to share helps keep property and identities safe.

The survey also found that consumers were unsure about other auto accident best practices. For example, nearly 20 percent of respondents believe the only reason to call police after an accident is if someone is injured. However, filing a police report can help facilitate the insurance claims process.

Wreck Check App

New WreckCheck App for Smartphones

To take some of the guesswork out of a tense situation, the NAIC has developed WreckCheck, a new, free mobile app for iPhone® and Android® smartphones. The new app outlines what to do immediately following an accident and walks users through a step-by-step process to create their own accident report. The app directs them to capture photos and helps document and share only what is necessary to file an insurance claim. Users can even email their completed reports to themselves and their insurance agents.

No smartphone? NAIC offers a downloadable accident checklist and tips for staying calm, safe and smart on the road.

For more tips and tools to make sure you are protected in case of an auto accident, visit www.insureuonline.org